A new strain of the coronavirus first discovered in the United Kingdom has been identified in Colorado, according to the state’s governor.
The individual is a male in his 20s with no travel history. The CDC has been notified of his diagnosis and he’s currently in isolation.
“The individual is recovering in isolation and will remain there until cleared by public health officials,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement. “The individual has no close contacts identified so far, but public health officials are working to identify other potential cases and contacts through thorough contact tracing interviews.”
Last week the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said he expects that the new strain found in the UK was already here. With no history of travel, the individual in Colorado may be the first confirmed case of community spread of this new variant in the US.
“I would not be surprised if it’s already here,” Fauci said in an interview with PBS Newshour. “When we start to look for it, we’re going to find it.”
This new strain of the coronavirus spreads more rapidly than the dominant strain of the virus though experts believe it is less deadly.
Still it could further strain out already struggling healthcare system. Since it spreads more easily it would likely result in more hospitalization. And once the hospitals become more overwhelmed, the quality of care of the sickest patients drops, which can lead to higher death rates.